1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?
Darryl Swan (drums): The initial tracking of “II” took place in July. Afterward we hit the road in August with Australia’s DEAD for a couple weeks. That was super rad. Since then we’ve just been working on getting the record released and writing material for a follow-up, punctuated by a few choice shows here and there.
2.You have a new album coming out early this year, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical direction it has taken and also how does it differ from your previous album?
Darryl: Some of the concepts in “The Fields” actually continue in “II”. The first record touched on ideas such as musical movements versus traditional song-based writing. We took that further in “II”, so that what you have is essentially a single musical composition broken into four main movements. “II” is darker, too. We’ve had people tell us they experience a sensation of fear when they listen to it. We wanted some of that horror-show effect, so that you can envision yourself in a dark place, being chased by beasts of your own imagining, with no hope for a fairy-tale ending.
3.On the album the bass is the lead instrument, are you planning on using regular guitars in the future?
Rick Duncan (bass, vocals): We have discussed it, but at this point I would have to say that we'll not be adding a guitarist anytime in the near future. I'm pretty happy with sound that we're getting and the way Darryl and I work together.
Darryl: There has been liberation, in songwriting and how we can contort sounds, as a two-piece that we’d be hard-pressed to compromise. But that doesn’t mean we’re sitting on the sound, either. We have a few surprises in the works and Rick, who is a fucking master sound engineer, is always taking the bass configuration to new, weirder places.
4.Can you tell us a little bit more about the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the new release?
Rick: It is a concept record. It's' a pre- and post-apocalyptic horror story about a man who is captured, tortured, tormented and experimented on by the government. He ultimately comes in contact with a bloodthirsty spirit named the Mother, who gives him the power to rise up and rain fire onto the world. The lyrics are his thoughts, and the Mother's word. Though there are specific intentions, I like the lyrics to be open for interpretation.
5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Towers'?
Rick: We argued for months about what the fuck are we going to name our band. Finally, Max Rees (former guitarist) brought up Towers. It was the one name we could all agree on. I think it's a powerful name and it really wasn't being used. There was a band in Philadelphia, but they had split up. Also, Towers made sense to me, as I used to have this recurring dream, appearing in my head like an oil painting, of me circling this massive tower that cracked open and started pouring sand out, which happened to be individual souls. If that means anything.
6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Rick: I had a ghost singing along with me over my left shoulder at the East End. It was the weirdest thing. At first I thought it was some kind of feedback or someone out in the crowd. The voice was pretty direct. Who knows what it was. We played this house party in Arcata, Calif., for the Fuck the Weekend Festival and it was a fucking blast. We got the crowd worked up into a trace.
Darryl: Yeah, people came unhinged. It was fun. And that East End show is no fucking shit. It freaked us the fuck out.
7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new release?
Darryl: We have our LP release at the East End this upcoming Friday, Feb. 7, with Order of the GASH and Left Blank, the latter having Tom Glose, formerly of Black Elk. That’s going to be a good one. We’re starting to pull some of the threads together for a summer tour, but we're still working out the details.
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your musical style by fans of underground music?
Darryl: So far it’s been great. We have had a killer reception from all listeners. It’s just a matter of getting the music in front of an audience as much as possible. Once we have the audience, the music seems to strike a nerve and stick it’s groove into people.
9.What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
Rick: I'm constantly thinking about the next record and how we can innovate our sound. We're always experimenting with sound and songwriting. One thing Darryl and I believe in, is we'll never repeat ourselves. We're always trying to grow and we're not trying to please anyone. This is what we do.
Darryl: We’re really not into mapping out this sound or that sound, or thinking too far ahead about any particular musical pursuit. It’s about the vibe. If it gets us moving in a satisfying way, then we’ll work it out.
10.What are some bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Rick: When It comes to music, I listen to everything. It just depends on my mood. I enjoy and respect all types of music. If it's good, it's good. I do tend to listen to heavier styles of music because I'm pretty pissed off most of the time. I did get the pleasure to listen to Prizehog's new record, and I have to say it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
Darryl: Lately I’ve been going back and listening to Slayer, whatever is at my fingertips. Also I'm always amazed at the volume of quality music in Portland. It's insane.
11.Do you have any non musical interests?
Darryl: Skateboarding. Love the Pacific Northwest, the outdoors. Right now I’m really into my pet bearded dragon, Puff. He’s a sport. And I also like drinking, hanging out.
12. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Rick: I can't tell you how excited I am to be a part of this insane, heavy, dirty and gritty fucking music scene here in Portland. I mean, I've lived all over and usually there is a couple of cool bands in town, but in Portland there's like 40.
Darryl: Yeah. It's pretty nuts.
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